Introduction Depression is a common mental health problem affecting human communities. A variety of screening tools have proved useful and this study explored the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale among rural south western Nigerians.
Methods Interviewer administered, community based survey of adults.
Results A total of 313 consenting community members were interviewed, 48.2% were female, sample mean age 34.25±14.82 years. Depression was established in 8.3% of individuals within the 2 week reference period (M:F sex specific prevalence of 10.5% and 6% respectively). Severe, moderate and mild depression was present in 46.1%, 23.1% and 30.8% of depressed individuals. Factors significantly associated with depression include recent bereavement OR 2.59 (95% CI 1.07 to 6.25), somatic symptoms OR 2.77 (95% CI 1.14 to 6.85) and accommodation problems OR 95% CI. Suicidal ideation and attempts were reported by 10.5% and 1.9% respectively. A multivariable logistic model which included variables significant at 10% retained only somatic symptoms as a predictor of depression in this study.
Conclusion The HADS is useful in community screening for depression. The observed high prevalence of depression despite a short reference period illustrates the importance of this condition in the study population. Health workers and local health services should be sensitised to consider a diagnosis of depression especially in the presence of unexplained somatic symptoms.
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